3. Comic Characters, College & Eunice

Dear PrillyCharmin,

Well, I guess I'd better tell you something about myself in as far as it explains the LOOK of Baby Face, I hope you won't find this as boring as I find writing about it to be, as I've been over this again and again in regard to my role as "Toy Collector". And have often been asked to discuss it on TV or for books and articles etc..So I'm sick of hearing myself talk about it!

On the other hand I've never been asked to talk about Baby Face before! I was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1937. And I literally lived in the world of Dick and Jane. My dog was even named "Gyp", just like in the school reader. And My Universe extended only as far as I could see, standing in front of my house and looking down the street, a couple of blocks, in either direction.

Then, when I was about two or three years old, all that, suddenly, changed in an instant. One fateful day, I was put in the car and taken to a huge dark room, full of more people than I had ever even imagined existed. There was a huge doorway at one end of the room, And through that doorway I beheld Another World. A world so Fabulous! so Beautiful! I knew at once that, that was where I wanted to live! I was ready to step through that doorway, dwell there forever, and never look back!

It was pretty much standard procedure, back then, I guess, that every child's first visit to the movies would be a Disney film. I'm not sure which film it was, Pinocchio, I guess. It really didn't matter. I just fell in love with the "Look"of it! And the world around me seemed, all the duller by comparison.

Fifteen years later, after a childhood that included standing at the blackboard on "show and tell" days and Speed Drawing, from memory any and every Disney character the class could name, and 10 hour days spent in the movies with lunch and dinner both, in paper bags, whenever a new Disney film came to town, I found myself at 17 years old actually there at the Disney studios interviewing for a job!

And They Hired me! I left with all the papers to fill out and return, and I was to return, myself, to begin, where everybody began, as an "In-betweener" as soon as I graduated from High school, that coming September. I had entered the doorway at last, and the Dream that had sustained me throughout my childhood, evaporated on the spot! It didn't Crash. I wasn't sad or disappointed. But the dream just "ceased to be"! There was No Dopey walking down "Dopey Drive", only unhappy looking workers carrying lunch pails. The Disney studios reminded me of nothing quite as much as our class visit to the Ford Factory, back in Detroit.

What I really wanted to do at Disney was work in the Character Creation Department. I learned that that department had been eliminated, and the now highly specialized animators each developed his one specialized character in a film, and then had to "animate" it, pumping out hundreds of drawings, day after day. I realized, I was never coming back. And that I really didn't want to "work" for Walt Disney, I wanted to BE Walt Disney!

So I went to College and Lots and Lots of Art Schools, instead. Then I spent a year in Paris where I discovered the two Great Loves of my life, My Incredible and Wonderful (soon to be) Wife, Eunice, and collecting Antique Toys! I returned to the University of Michigan and Eunice arrived a few months later. One year of residency and one speech class was all that was required to turn all the credits I had gathered "here and there" into a degree, and keep me out of the army as well! During that time, Eunice and I were married and acquired our first cat, "Fish Face" and our first daughter, "Samantha". Forty years, another daughter, who I named "Toots" (No wonder they didn't ask me to pick the names for the Baby Face dolls!), and many many cats later, we are still together.

This Snow White Poster is one that I love; it's Gustav Tengrins Poster for the first release of Snow White (I have one of these) and while the image isn't too clear this size - some portion of the magic comes through! The poster is actually better than the film in some respects.

Well, Eunice is waiting for me to Resurrect and Over-decorate the Oversize Toilet-Brush we call a Christmas tree, So I will stop here, with thanks for your E-mails and Best Regards, Mel

Next Page: 4. Starting Out in New York

Index Page
Mel's Photo Albums Home